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Ode to Chiam See Tong: A Lion of Singapore May 4, 2011

Posted by Ned Stark in Uncategorized.

I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.”

  • Pt. 1, ch. 11, To Kill A Mockingbird
  • Atticus Finch (from Wikiquote)

I freely admit that I incline towards the underdog, and this is more so in Singapore politics where the opposition faces insurmountable obstacles such as GRCs, huge election deposits, the threat of defamation suits, the climate of fear engineered by the incumbent party and the inherent biasness of the mainstream media, which has gotten worst over the past years. Indeed it is patently ridiculous to caricature the opposition as a bunch of opportunists seeking glamour, unless one believes that glamour involves being called all sorts of undesirable names or being sued till kingdom come.

Among the opposition, some figures clearly stand out. Today, I would take the opportunity to salute Mr Chiam See Tong, a man who has achieved much in the face of adversity and who, notwithstanding his achievements, is still desperately fighting the good fight by trying to unseat Mr Wong Kan Seng and his Bishan-Toa Payoh team. This post was  inspired by this video, where Mr Chiam displays both fortitude and humility. Despite being stricken by stroke, I was extremely touched to see Mr Chiam valiantly attempt to speak. Indeed, though the flesh is weak, the spirit is indeed willing. What really touched me though was his humility when he said, “You give me more applause than I deserve”, and then later on went to say that “I am an ordinary Singaporean just like anyone of you”. In contrast, not too long ago we had someone calling us lesser mortals and then attempting to backtrack.

Furthermore, despite his frailties, he has succeeded in garnering a strong team consisting of former government scholars to contest in Bishan-Toa Payoh. This is a testament to his perseverance; several times in his career he has been written off, most notably during the period before his first victory in Potong Pasir (where he was derided for having “poor” o level results). Despite all this he has managed to navigate the somewhat muddy waters of Singapore politics, all the while retaining his humility and gentlemanly nature. A testament to his ability is seen in his electoral achievements, where he has fended off PAP challenges notwithstanding the upgrading carrot dangled before the voters of Potong Pasir.

But perhaps his greatest hour is in 1987, where he spoke up for those detained under the ISA for being part of the so-called Marxist Conspiracy. Though he was ultimately unsuccessful, history tends to remember with fondness those who undertook such lost causes (Eg, Liu Bei, Zhuge LiangYue Fei, Wen Tian Xiang etc). Indeed one might go so far to say that if Mr Chiam can pull an upset in Bishan-Toa Payoh, it would truly be a vindication of his valiant struggle over the past 20 years. For this is indeed an uphill battle, despite the heating up of things on the net, I still stick to my cynical prediction that it would likely be an 87:0; after all, even if the PAP’s share of the vote falls to 50% or so, all it takes is a simple majority for PAP to win the constituency. For example, PAP could win each constituency by winning 50% of the vote. Such a result is the real freak election though I disgress.

Hence, I wish Mr Chiam all the best and salute him for his long years of service, and hope against hope that Mr Chiam and his team can make history, together with the WP team. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that Mr Chiam epitomises all that is desirable in a citizen: humility, courage, a heart for service and a never-say-die attitude that has seen him stand up again despite setbacks, both physical and political. Mr Chiam, though we may never encounter each other face to face, I salute you from the bottom of my heart and thank you for all your years of service. May we Singaporeans have your zeal for service and the courage to press forward even in the absence of any certainty of success.

I am not actually a brave man, but I love Singapore and Singaporeans.” Mr Chiam See Tong, 2011

Much Ado About Optimism April 28, 2011

Posted by Ned Stark in Uncategorized.
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The elections are finally here and this time there appears to be much optimism online about the opposition’s chances. A quick view of the opposition line up shows us that, for perhaps the first time in a long while, the opposition is, in theory, able to go toe to toe against PAP.

Unfortunately, one must be wary of over-optimism. Indeed, it is highly likely that the PAP will have a clean sweep this election, as reported here. The opposition is playing an extreme high risk game – by vacating their seats, Low and Chiam have left Hougang and Potong Pasir vulnerable to the respective PAP candidates. Furthermore, while the WP team in Aljunied is extremely formidable, the PAP team in Aljunied is equally formidable. Also, in the previous elections, the WP lost Aljunied by 7%. While this seems insignificant in terms of %, this possibly translates to 1000+ votes and it is unclear if Low Thia Kiang’s formidable persona is able to cause a shift in the ground. This is ignoring the fact of gerrymandering and the usual fear mongering present.

Therefore, the possibility of a freak election is a real one; namely, the PAP wins all seats and the opposition is left with 9 toothless NCMPs in Parliament. The notion that the ground appears less sweet is problematic because firstly, to me at least, it appears that the ground has always been less sweet in every other election, yet the PAP still took the ground. Secondly, even if people are angry, it may not necessarily translate into votes for the opposition. Of course, a factor in the opposition favour is that this appears to be their strongest lineup ever; and if one looks to the new PAP candidates, there is indeed a discernible difference in standards.
Hence, I look forward to May 7 with great anticipation and not a little trepidation for this is the opposition’s gamble; this is akin to Napoleon’s gamble at Waterloo, to Zhuge Liang or Jiang Wei’s attempt to restore the House of Han. Regardless of the result though, I salute the bravery of each and every member of the opposition for standing up to be counted. Though you may not win this battle (though i fervently hope it is otherwise), you all are truly worthy of respect for daring to stand up and be counted. It truly is a tragedy of our times that people with such conviction are often derided or dismissed by those that ought to know better.

Having said that, I must say that I hold the old guard and the SM and some other members of the PAP in high esteem. But as Mr Wang so astutely notes, the new generation of PAP is not the same as the old PAP. While there are undoubtedly good people serving the PAP now (I personally feel that Mr George Yeo is one of them, and it is unfortunate that he has been put in a hotseat), not everyone is of the same calibre. In light of this, one hopes that when casting one’s vote, one would be able to look at the issue through less tinted lenses and consider carefully whether the PAP’s future direction is the right one. After all, its not about the past, but about the future of us all.

Democracy: What it can or cannot do August 19, 2009

Posted by Ned Stark in Uncategorized.

Recently, a Nominated Member of Parliament, Mr Viswa Sadisvan, called on the government to stay true to the ideals of the pledge.  Such a task would entail “building a democratic society, based on justice and equality”. As expected, Mr Sadisvan was criticised by Minister Ng Eng Hen. The criticisms raised by Mr Ng are not new; in fact they are the same criticisms raised in response to demands for democratisation of society. Besides using the usual methods of dissing the idea of democracy (namely, by ignoring democratic countries who are successful and instead placing an undue emphasis on countries which suffer from political instability), Mr Ng also defended PAP’s practice of democracy by asking the rhetorical question:

He questioned Mr Viswa’s view that these were ‘conventional practices of democracy’, and asked:

‘Is it so blindingly self-evident that they will work magic for us?

Actually, if Mr Ng means to say that democracy cannot bring about economic development and bring good leaders to office, he is correct. Nevertheless, democracy does serve a purpose, albeit not the one that its critics claim.

The Purpose of Democracy

The idea of democracy includes principles such as popular sovereign, and that government can only govern with the consent of the governed. For democracy to function, civil liberties such as right to free speech, right to religious freedom and right to personal life and liberty are necessary and these rights are enforced by a judiciary which is independent. These rights flow from the need to ensure that the people are able to give valid consent to their government; this is done through free and fair elections. Underlying all this is the concept of limited government, through judicial review by the courts and the ballot box, the government is checked from abusing its powers. The concept of limited government seeks to establish a just order whereby the people can live their lives and achieve their maximum potential. Essentially, democracy seeks to build a society whereby people can develop and also resort to legal means of resolving disputes; thus obviating the need for a revolution and chaos.

The Worst Form of Government, Except all others

As seen above, democracy does not, by itself lead to high GDP. It does not lead to exceptional leaders who can develop a GDP. In fact, it could lead to leaders who may know nothing about economics.

Nevertheless, that is not the purpose of democracy; instead, the aims of democracy are more modest; namely, to ensure that bad people do not take the reigns of government, and if they should ever take the reigns of power; the checks and balances of a democratic society (independent judiciary, civil society, opposition parties) would kick in to ensure that they would not be able to abuse their powers. In essence, democracy seeks to prevent the incidence of bad government. The safeguards in a democratic system would, ideally, prevent the incidence of conflict arising between people and their government; rather than armed revolution, the people can seek the courts’ assistance in vindicating their rights (and in turn checking the government’s abuse of said rights) and exercise their right to vote out their government. History has shown us that power tends to corrupt and the adverse consequences of a corrupt government, with untrammelled power, could lead to misery. Dealing with the idea of a benevolent dictatorship, one cannot help but observe that such a political arrangement is premised on the goodwill of the person or group wearing the mantle of a “benevolent dictator”; should the benevolent dictator end up like the Myanmar Junta, then the people would be placed under the yoke of oppression. Furthermore, such political systems are based on the persona of the ruler; should the ruler be replaced by someone incompetent or powerless, then the chances of revolts and chaos would increase; this is what happened after the death of Qin Shi Huang. A political order should seek to prevent revolution as revolutions are a mark of failure. As it stands now, only a democratic system could prevent such a situation from occuring. Indeed, the democracy may be the only way one can hold together society; the benefits of so doing would outweigh the short term disadvantages of a government which may be less efficient.

Moral of the Story

Therefore, the responses made by proponents of the government and by the minsters tend to miss the point. Democracy alone, cannot be the panacea to all the problems, social and economic, faced by society. Nevertheless, democracy can protect society from the excesses of a bad government and bring about a peaceful transition in society without the collapse of society itself (which would happen in the event of a revolution). The ability to achieve such a purpose thus makes democracy the worst form of all government, except for all others.

Its Time ST did the Right Thing October 29, 2008

Posted by Ned Stark in Uncategorized.

The ST editorial policy regarding the Strait Times has always been an unfathamoble mystery to me. This has been proven time and again by their consistent publishing (in print no less) of this fellow’s rants and diatribes. In fact it is shocking that his garbage seems to have been given prime position in the papers.

It might be true that there is some objectivity out there, but there are varying factual scenarios which lead to a varied application of morals. Unfortunately such men as the writer often sit on a moral high horse and seek to castigate without engaging in any intellectual endeavour. It is sad that the voice of the fundamentalist seems to be given space in a national newspaper while other voices are ignored. Therefore it is time that ST did the right thing by not printing such ridiculous diatribes which are devoid of any sense and more akin to the clarion call to slaughter by Crusaders of old.

As an aside, I do not purport to be an expert on Christianity, much less the denomination the writer is from. Nevertheless as a man of religion albeit of different persuasion I seriously doubt that Christianity imposes a duty to act like a prick, ie sitting on a moral high horse and condeming every single little thing. In fact I think this tale is particularly illuminating. But of course, such man as the writer will probably accuse me of using scripture for my own purposes, which is an irony and tinged with a bit of hypocrisy.

The Lion of Anson October 1, 2008

Posted by Ned Stark in Uncategorized.
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When Mr Joshua Benjamin Jeyeratnam’s name was mentioned in the morning radio, I expected to hear news regarding the constitution application to call for a by-election. Imagine my shock when I heard that the “Lion of Anson” had passed away.

Mr Jeyeratnam’s passing leaves a void in Singapore; a void in this society where apathy and the dreaded “p” word pragmatism reign supreme. To the very end he stuck to his cause, braving “hatchets” from a powerful machinery, disdain and indifference from the very same people he fought for. It is sad that he passed on before his life’s task was achieved; joining historical luminaries like Zhuge Liang and Yue Fei (perhaps he is similar to Yue Fei who was knocked down by his own country). His dedication, courage, care for the littleman are all the more remarkable in a society where such traits are frowned upon unless they are utilised for purposes sanctioned by the powers that be. I only saw him once; at the MPH bookstore in Raffles City. If memory serves he was engaging in small talk with the cashier; something which most people rarely do, unless they want to complain.

Thus it is with disgust that I read the reports on Mr Jeyeratnam’s passing; more specifically I was peeved at the “condolence” letters, being of the opinion that such letters were more concerned with painting the ruling party in a better light; which is an irony given that most of Mr Jeyeratnam’s travails had their origins from the self same source. It is also with concern that Mr Jeyeratnam will be forgotten and marginalised by the machinery of the state and thus eventually by the people whose cause he championed and for which he sacrificed much. Indeed his life is a clear manifestation of the saying:” a prophet is never liked in his own country”. Nevertheless I hope that Mr Jeyeratnam’s contributions can be encapsulated within the new Media so that his life, ideals and struggle will not be drowned out by the self-congratulatory reports found in the Mainstream media. Yes the Lion of Anson has passed on; it is now up to those willing and able to ensure that his spirit lives on, and that his sacrifices will not be in vain.

*other bloggers have expressed their thoughts more eloquently here.

Vote MP = Vote PAP? and the Presumption of Innocence August 27, 2008

Posted by Ned Stark in Uncategorized.

Vote MP = Vote PAP?

As expected, there will be no by-election in Jurong GRC, even though it appears that residents themselves would rather have such an election. Nevertheless Mr Lee Hsien Loong’s reported speech is illuminating for the deliberate conflation of two separate issues; namely voting for your MP and voting for a political party.  Indeed this also highlights the role the GRC has to play in entrenching the ruling party’s hegemony.

Mr Lee claim is this,

unlike other democracies like Britain in which MPs form the government, Singapore’s system emphasises on choosing political parties.

So when an MP is elected, it means voters are also giving the mandate to the party represented by the MP to form the government.

That is an erroneous view. Undeniably there are instances where the person votes for the MP and votes for the party. There are however various other instances where a person votes for the MP NOTWITHSTANDING his political affilations and there are other instances where a person is voted in merely because he hides behind a political party. Therefore Mr Lee cannot conclude with great authority that voting for one MP means a vote for PAP in general. And if one considers the various arguments on whether Singaporeans actually have choice (a rather difficult question; but then questions of choice always are), then Mr Lee’s simple equation; vote for (insert name here)= vote for PAP fails. Another example is this; suppose A lives in a GRC and there is an election; 6 candidates from each side contest. A is a vociferous supporter of the opposition and does not shy away from Mr JBJ or Mr CSJ when he sees them along Orchard Rd. Nevertheless A finds that 1 of the 6 PAP candidates is a very nice man (for whatever reason) and feels obliged to vote because he does not want this man to lose his seat. So he casts his vote for the ENTIRE team just because he likes this one person. Can one say that he supports PAP? No; he is merely voting the way because of one member in the team.

Now moving the story along, what if nice MP suddenly retires from politics for whatever reason? Suddenly Mr A is left with a group of people he cares nothing about. His choice is gone, lost. He feels aggrieved and seeks to exercise once again his right to select his representatives. Of course in Singapore the story ends with the PM giving excuses and now and again engaging in abit of dooms day prophesying.

The Presumption of Innocence

This issue was first raised when the new AG, Walter Woon, gave a press statement whereby he introduced concepts such as legal innocence and factual innocence. This drew a stern rebuttal from the Honorable Justice of Appeal V K Rajah; just recently the new Law Minister K Shanmugam stepped into the fray in support of the AG.

As stated by E-Jay in his post, it is true that there is no full proof legal system. There will be miscarriages of justice; and thus there will be times when the guilty cannot be brought to justice while the innocent will suffer such a miscarriage. Nevertheless in my opinion the crux of the issue is this: what kind of system would we like to have? Would we want a system which derogates from the principle of innocent until proven guilty (the so called crime control system)? Such a system draws a wide net, and increases the risks of ensnaring the truly innocent (echoes of such a system can be found in the Drug provisions). Or do we seek to give effect to the presumption of innocence and crafting a system in pursuance of that goal? In such a system those who are guilty may sometimes escape.

The establishment’s stand is that the presumption of innocence is upheld. Which is well and good for I am a firm believer in the maxim “it is better to let 9 guilty people go then to allow 1 innocent to hang”. It is for this reason that I frown at the usual “deterrence” arguments commonly employed to support to derogation of the principle ( sometimes I do wonder if proponents of such arguments truly comprehend the stakes; perhaps they are of the impression that they will never be caught on the wrong side of such a system; well many people in the Western countries thought so too, yet they were convicted for crimes they did not do and some paid the highest penalty for it too; see The Innocent Man by John Grisham). Nevertheless in attempting to preserve the AGC’s reputation the AG and the Law minister are encouraging cynicism in the legal system;  such face saving exercises would have an adverse impact on those acquitted of crimes. In my opinion there is no reason why the AGC has to embark on this course; even the best institutions make mistakes; no one wins all the time.

Here We Go Again…Again August 1, 2008

Posted by Ned Stark in Uncategorized.

I remember those days in Active Service, when I and a bunch of other guys, in what would normally be the most exciting period of our lives (if we had not been born here that is), were forced to learn a variety of songs designed to bolster morale and what have you. My personal favourite was the song which started with “here we go again” and ended with some lines regarding the time left to book out. Little did I know at that time that the phrase “here we go again” would be symptomatic of the goings on in Singapore society.

It was not too long ago that there were hikes in transport fares. TOC has done a good job of documenting the increases here. So imagine my disgust when I read this. To cut the long story short, SBS transit and SMRT Corp are once again planning to increase fares. And from past experience it appears that this is fait accompli; the fares will go up.  In fact my seemingly premature conclusion is bolstered by the wording used report; that “insiders are not holding their breath for any measurable increase this year. ” Therefore notwithstanding the lack of a so called measurable increase, the price is still going up…again.

Of course these companies have come up with the usual excuses; chief among which is that fuel and energy costs have “significantly increased” over the years. Nevertheless one must recall that just recently there were several drops in pump prices. Unless SMRT and SBS are under a different fuel regime from drivers and taxi drivers, then I fail to see why this significant increase necessitates a price increase.

Furtheremore even if there is a significant increase, I hardly see why there is an urgent need for SBS and SMRT to raise fares. According to the abovementioned article, SMRT posted a net profit of $150million. Thus I fail to see the need for an increase. In fact the cynical me would say that these companies are merely using inflation as an excuse to drive up their not inconsiderable profits. It is true that these companies are eager to maximise profit; that is where associations like the PTC come in to control and regulate these people. Unfortunately (though I could be mistaken) it appears that the PTC has often taken the side of the big boys and thus at the end of the day, the only losers are the people who rely on public transport.

Response to a Response July 11, 2008

Posted by Ned Stark in Uncategorized.

In an unsurprising move, the ST spin machine is at work again, to downplay the IBA report which was released just a few days ago. As expected, a writer extolling the virtues of the PAP and attacking the character of Dr Chee Soon Juan in the process; the proverbial killing two birds with one stone. In his letter, the writer has called Chee irresponsible and all other sorts of words; finally he goes on to reaffirm his loyalty to Singapore.

I must admit, when I began to follow the goings on of the political realm, I too was under the impression that Dr Chee was a fool and a joker; many years ago, it would not be inconceivable for me to author such a letter to the forum, if I were minded to do so. And yet as time passed and I began to gain more information I begin to realise that Dr Chee is not as irresponsible and irascible as he is made up to be.

For society to progress, there needs to be a variety of players; you have the academics and the commentators (sometimes derogatorily referred to as the armchair critics), you have the workers who oil the machinery, and then you have the leaders, the doers, entrepreneurs (I call them the movers). Among the movers you would need people who are not within the system, people who agitate for change in a manner different from that of the “armchair critic”. These movers will seek to show people, by their actions, the various issues which would never appear in the mainstream due to control by the establishment. These peopel are the reminder to us that sometimes, especially in Singapore, there is more to life then just commuting to the CBD area and trying to chase money (ironically, the nature of the money chase is such that one can spend one’s life in pursuit of money, but will always be one step behind). To cut to the chase, people like Dr Chee Soon Juan would be known as movers. Thus his actions which, to some people, bother on the flamboyant. Chee’s tactics are described in further detail here by Mr Alex Au.

Of course there are those who will begin parroting lines that “Chee is not credible” and so on. It is my fervent hope that such people who believe this believe in it because they have come to the conclusion and not because they have been influenced by the establishment’s narrative. Indeed it will be tragic that one professes to disagree with the establishment but is still influenced somewhat by the very same establishment.

Thus I most heartily disagree with the forum writer’s dismissal and character assassination of Chee. Indeed it seems rather ironic that on one hand, we have people lamenting that Singaporeans are apathetic and lack passion and are money minded… and at the same time, we will then turn around and condemn any Singaporean who show such traits. A more apt saying is that “a prophet is never liked in his home town”.

The writer also seems to confuse the concept of a nation with the concept of government, as seen from his declaration of loyalty to Singapore, his pride as a Singaporean. Furthermore he seems to suggest that a loyal Singaporean cannot be a “shambolic critic” which is a patently ridiculous statement. To be willing to stand up and be counted, and go against the ruling party is an act tantamount to suicide. A person willing to do so can be said to display loyalty to his country, which is more that one can say for others who merely act as parrots. It is instances like these, when the government turns against those people who merely mean well, and is accompanied by such people, that make me ashamed to call myself a Singaporean (that does not mean I accept the equation that PAP=Singapore, because I dont. However I also recognise that the concept of Singapore has been tied up with PAP by the powers that be that the above statement is to be expected).

A Tale of Two Organisations July 10, 2008

Posted by Ned Stark in Uncategorized.

The Singapore government must have felt like it had struck lottery when the International Bar Association chose to host its annual conference in Singapore after the International Monetary Fund had held its meeting in Singapore. This fact became part of the ammunition the government used against naysayers such as Dr Chee Soon Juan. Unfortunately as shown by this IBA report, the Singapore government has jumped the gun in patting themselves on the back. Suffice to say the report made the usual criticisms of Singapore’s record on Human Rights.

Naturally the Singapore government became defensive and issued a “rebuttal”; unfortunately this sudden “U-Turn” does not paint the government in a good light, though with the help of the Straits Times and people like Syu Ying Kwok I would opine that they will come out of it none the worse (if they can come out of all that policies which increase the cost of living without a scratch I fail to see why this slip up would have any more impact).

This “U-turn”  is not unprecedented, the government has oft played up any praise (actual or imagined) by foreign organisations, only to then turn around and use a mixture of fearmongering and arguments which evince some sort of “Eastern supremacism” once the said organisation begins to say anything displeasing to the ears of the government. (As an aside there is a chinese idiom which roughly translates to “bitter medicine cures the sickness, good advice however hard to hear cures the soul”… if we are indeed followers of Confucious we might do well to remember this… government included).

A Tale of the Privy Council

Long before the IBA decided to hold its conference in Singapore, the Singapore Judiciary had, at its apex, the Privy Council in Britain. The PC was once feted, by  then Minister of Law Jayakumar, as the litmus test of judicial independence in Singapore. Unfortunately the PC dug its own grave, so to speak, when they allowed Mr JBJ’s appeal (JBJ v Law Society [1988]) against Mr JBJ’s removal from the rolls of advocate and solicitor of the Supreme Court in Singapore. Their Lordships then went on to expressed “deep disquiet” over the proceedings which resulted in JBJ’s conviction. With one stroke, the government deemed the PC to be one of them pesky Western Organisations and appeals to the PC from Singapore were eventually abolished. The PC was accused of playing politics, a questionable accusation given that the PC had allowed Mr Goh Chok Tong’s defence of fair comment against a suit launched by JBJ in JBJ v Goh Chok Tong [1989]. If the Council was indeed “playing politics” then there was no reason why they would have ruled in favour of Mr Goh.


The government has thrown the baby out of the bathwater, a regretable but unsurprising action given the government’s thin-skin when faced with anything remotely critical. The Singapore government has shown a rather hobbesian view towards criticism; which may yet bode ill for us in the future. It is my fervent hope that people would not toss the IBA report aside on the basis of the government’s “u-turn” and instead read the report with a critical mind; after all it would be ridiculous for right thinking people to reject the report on account of the government’s peevishness, wouldnt it?



The MSK/WKS Saga April 26, 2008

Posted by Ned Stark in Uncategorized.

I must say Mas Selamat’s escape from Whitley Detention was something of a shock for me; after all, it was this very same detention centre which which housed the so-called “Marxist Conspiracy” and the othere “undesirables” of Singapore society (though it appears that there are still many undesirables writing crap into the ST Forum, but this is merely an aside). This shock was further compounded by the fact that this very same Detention centre was run by the dreaded ISD and even guarded by gurkhas! (those who have served in the military may have encountered the gurkhas; suffice to say they put the SAF’s elite formations to shame). The COI findings to have surprised me; I must say I have never seen a cubicle with two urinals.

Nevertheless I was indeed hoping for something, some act of contrition or humility from the powers that be. Imagine my dismay when not only does that said act not materialise; to compound matters further, it appears that the mainstream media is revving up a spin offensive, heaping scorn against the online community, and turning their attention to Mr Low Thia Kiang’s silence, when in actual fact, Mr Low’s silence is merely tangential to the issue at hand: namely the government’s accountability towards the populace. And I must say I would expect either a further playing up of Mr Low’s silence, exhortations to move on which brings to mind the Gomez saga in GE 2006 (although admittedly it was the WP which was under attack; leading the charge was none other than Mr Wong Kan Seng himself). Of course it is also conceivable that the Father of Singapore would soon come and deliver a “stinging rebuke” decrying Singaporean’s “complacency”. Basically anything can happen, save for what should happen; namely a proper acknowledgement of fault and a change in the high-handed manner which the PAP is renowned for. Chua Lee Hong’s “reading the internet postings make [her] blood boil”* comment only shows the establishment’s commitment to turn the spot light away from this thorny issue (although perhaps she could be referring to the ST online Forum; then i would agree,some of their posts really make my blood boil:P).

Now don’t get me wrong. I personally am not advocating for Mr Wong’s resignation; though if he had ATTEMPTED to do so it would have raised my esteem of him by a wide margin. What i was hoping to see from this COI exercise was humble contrition for a mistake made. It is one of the tenets of leadership that the leader assumes responsibility for the follies of his subordinate, notwithstanding that he may or may not have had a direct link to the deplorable event. In spite of the editorials extolling the virtues of the ISA, in spite of the allusions that my complacency somehow led to MSK’s escape (though i never knew who he was before this incident), i was hoping that somehow, the PAP would do things differently. But of course at the end of the day, that was, at best, naive.

* I must say reading anything from the factories of the MSM doth make my blood boil. Especially this piece… I am rather disappointed at the outcome to say the least. Such incidents do make me wonder what would have happened if the person who slapped the victim was someone else?

** the events up North may have had something to do with the myriad attempts to attack the Internet’s credibility; perhaps it had something to do with the talk of regulations (implicit sabber rattling). However I personally think fear on the part of the establishment is misconceived. Regretably my countryman have proven themselves to have a short memory and so there would be no “wake-up call” so to speak.


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